Charles Kountz Jr. loved Catonsville. Wherever there was a need for his legal background, he offered it, according to those who worked and volunteered alongside him.
Kountz, 67, who lived in the community for more than 40 years, died Jan. 1. He leaves behind a lengthy record of community service.
He served as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Community College of Baltimore County, was the counsel for the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, and as a member of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce. He served as president of the Lansdowne Business and Professional Association and was a board member and legal counsel for the Western District YMCA of Central Maryland and treasurer for the 12th District steering committee for state Sen. Edward Kasemeyer and Dels. Steve DeBoy and James Malone.
“Charlie was a force,” said Sandra Kurtinitis, president of CCBC. “He was a soft-spoken, yet sincere guy. He loved the Catonsville community. He loved the college. He always had a gentle, yet sincere, way about him. We are all going to miss him on the board.”
Though he had health issues recently, Kountz never let others see it, Kurtinitis said. He frequently attended CCBC events—everything from student plays to faculty retirement dinners—and interacted with board members, faculty and students alike, she said.
“He was a great guy who cared about the college and the opportunities it provided,” Kurtinitis said.
The same could be said of his passion for other organizations, including the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, said President John McDowell, who knew him for nearly two decades.
Kountz was always ready to offer his legal advice, McDowell said. Kountz had practiced law for more than 40 years. His firm, the Law Offices of Charles E. Kountz in Catonsville, was one of the oldest in southwestern Baltimore County, according to a statement from CCBC. Kountz opened it in 1970.
Kountz was admitted to the Maryland Bar Association after graduating magna cum laude and second in his law class from the University of Baltimore. He served as assistant district attorney from 1971 to 1975, deputy people’s counsel from 1975 to 1978, and as a state delegate from 1970 to 1983.
He distinguished himself within the legal community as chairman of the Baltimore County Lawyer Counseling Committee and a member of the Bar Association of Baltimore City, Family Law Committee, Maryland State Bar Association, Attorney Grievance Commission, Federal and American Bar Associations, Maryland Trial Lawyers Association, Governor’s Commission on Condominiums, and the Governor’s Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
“He offered his assistance and guidance from a legal perspective, although we hadn’t had to use his services too often,” McDowell said. “He was always polite, professional and caring. He was always willing to help and never charged for it. He was always willing to give back.”
Kountz’s passion for education was such that three governors had appointed him to the Board of Trustees at the college.
“I think I will miss most his quiet support of everything at the college,” Kurtinitis said. “He was a model trustee. He always made time to advocate for the college. That’s a very important quality for a trustee.”
The firefighters association was just as important to Kountz, who served as chief counsel since 1975. His contributions earned a governor’s citation and the Baltimore County Flame of Service Award, and he was the only non-uniformed member to receive the honor.
“He leaves big shoes to fill,” McDowell said.
Kountz’s son, Paul Kountz, noted his father’s community service during the funeral, Kurtinitis said.
“At his funeral Mass, his son, Paul, said being part of the community was one of the highest civic goals anyone could have,” she said.
In addition to his son, Kountz also is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Kountz; daughters Robyn McElwee, Rachel Kountz and Jenny Garner; and his brother, Robert Kountz.